Thursday, January 27, 2011

Following events in the Middle East

Here is a note I sent students in my Arab-Israeli Conflict course:

Hi Folks,

There is so much exciting news coming from the Middle East region these days. It is all directly relevant to our class: the "Jasmine Revolution" in Tunisia, the daily street demonstrations against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, street demonstrations in Yemen against the Saleh regime, the collapse of the Lebanese government and the appointment of the new prime minister Najib Mikati, and the brouhaha surrounding the release of the "Palestine papers" which I mentioned in class. I want to make you aware of two video news sources which may help you learn what is going on:

First, I want to draw your attention to the half-hour news digest called MOSAIC: World News from the Middle East. It is edited here in the US and provides key news stories as broadcast by regional news outlets like al-Jazeera (from Qatar) and IBA (from Israel), with voice-over translation as needed.

Then there is al-Jazeera English on Livestation. They are doing a great job in English covering the events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. If your Arabic is fluent, you can also find on Livestation al-Jazeera.

Like all media, both these venues have their editorial slant, but right now there is no better way to find out what is going on. A lot of journalists (both local and Western) are rooting for the demonstrators, and you will certainly be able to see it in their reporting. Watch the news in particular tomorrow, Friday, from Egypt: it is a well-practiced tradition throughout the Arab world to hold large street demonstrations (either organized or spontaneous) after the important Friday morning prayer services at mosques. Remember that Cairo is 7 hours ahead of us.

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